50 Word Stories – Unsatisfactory
“Your clothes are drab bordering on bedraggled. Your beard is uncouth, and if anything ages you. As for your face! Have you forgotten what soap and water are? In short, your return is unsatisfactory.” She ranted, and waved her handbag around the arrivals lounge.
I replied. “Darling, I’m over here.”
We always said we'd be there to catch each other. You do when you're young and in love. We were so convinced, so sure of our commitment that when we fell, it came as a genuine shock. Well, maybe less so for me. I had my hands behind my back.
We climbed the same hill we had on our first date. Our friends had said it weird to spend our first few hours together sweating our way up a mountain, our little knapsacks bobbing up and down like ducks on our backs. We didn’t care, we were already in love.
I remembered the stile offset at a peculiar angle as though it was yesterday. I had to twist my hips, never a good thing for a man who’d played way too much sport, whereas Caroline took it without even slowing. She was always limber.
The trail grew steeper as if to punish those who’d dared make it this far. I huffed. Caroline puffed. We made it though. We always made it, one way or another.
It was so quiet near the summit I thought the world had fallen asleep. Not a bird in the sky to ruin the mood. Even the trickling streams seemed to have dried for the day. We crested the last rise to a vista of all-encompassing beauty. Nature rolled out before us like an unmade duvet exuding the same comforting patches of warmth. I breathed deep. We both did. Caroline turned and smiled. I returned her gesture with all the kindness I could muster. It wasn’t enough, but at least we’d tried.
We returned to our separate cars in the same silence we’d left them, shook hands and drove away. Such was our life together, polite and purposeless. It’d never be quite the same though. Good.
A perfect carpet of pink
Warmer than the snow
Seasons drifting out of time
We move in ever-decreasing circles, you and I. A world without boundaries has contracted with us trapped somewhere at its centre waiting for the fences to fail. Still, not so long ago, we’d have thought to fly, to flee, to never look back and sparkle regardless. Those times are distant memories now. I miss them. I miss you.
Lessening, that’s how I see it. We lessen in our capacity to love; it diminishes us. Love is the one thing we should never lose for it is the first to form. I remember how others’ eyes glared, but yours shone. How others’ mouths snarled, whilst your lips puckered. I often wonder if you remember it this way, but never think to ask. If you’re still here to ask, that is? One forgets the simple things when one’s happy and ignores them when one’s not. Only when the tide turns to drag our smiles away, only then do we realise the importance of the little things, the special things.
I’m lessening. I can’t deny it. I am not the man I once was as you are not the same woman. Life has changed us. I’m lessening. What’s worse, I don’t care.
PS. If you should happen upon this note…
…forget it, it doesn’t matter. I’m gone.
Floating on our backs downstream smiling.
She liked talking, me, headphones. Perfect.
Elena's problem was her unwavering refusal to admit I was ever right. If I'd have said stroke my puppy, she'd have said it a cat. She always but always had to be right. That's why when I shouted, 'Watch out for that car!' Well, you can guess the rest.
Helen's amazing skill was her insatiable ability to absorb information, retain it, then expound it at the most cutting times. Fortunately, I had the world's worst memory and forgot everything she said. In many ways, we were the perfect couple though Helen argued different. I think that's what she said!
Her eyes veined red, wide with the mania only insomniacs know, she stumbles through another hazy morning. A pale vampire, a demoness of the dark, she snarls in a rabid baring of incisors. I back away.
"Morning, love," I try.
"Where's my coffee?"
I open the curtains, whilst I can.